By Leilanie G. Adriano
Laoag City, Ilocos Norte, June 5 (PNA) –The province of Ilocos Norte continues to boost its tourist arrivals with a significant increase every year.
Based on the latest tourist arrival statistics obtained from a consolidated report from hotel owners, home stay, lodging houses, traffic and tourist assistance centers, the collected data from around the province showed a total of 743, 236 foreign and domestic tourists in 2013.
Compared to the previous year, the Provincial Tourism Office noted an increase of about 186 percent or 259,148 day visitor arrivals statistics based on the different attractions and destinations frequently visited by both foreign and domestic tourists.
Xavier Ruiz, acting provincial tourism officer of Ilocos Norte, said they have yet to consolidate reports on the number of tourist arrivals from January to May this year.
He said the tourism department also expects a significant increase this year with the influx of visitors visiting the province this summer.
Meanwhile, Ma. Milagros Gonzales, provincial director of the Department of Tourism, also said that an increase of about 34 percent has been recorded based on accommodation establishments alone. This accounts the number of tourists who stayed in resorts and hotels in the entire province as compared to last year.
Major restaurants and small time carinderias noted the dramatic increase of tourists this year. Customers who wanted to taste Ilocano cuisine like bagnet, longanisa, empanada and miki had to line up in queues for them to get served.
The remarkable number of tourists brought livelihood to the locals who put up food stalls and sold souvenir items in key destinations aside from the collection of green fees in these destinations.
To sustain the number of tourists arrivals, the administration of Governor Imee Marcos through the Provincial Tourism Office continues to promote Ilocos Norte as a premiere destination of the north by organizing festivals and other crowd-drawing events including attending exhibits, conventions, among others.
Among the most visited tourism destinations include the Kapurpurawan Rock Formation of Burgos, Pagudpud beaches, Bangui Windmills, Paoay Sand Dunes, Marcos Museum and Paoay Church, among others.(PNA)